The best 10 days of my life?
The best 10 days of my life?
When we read or listen to the narration of Ibn Abbas (RA) who reported that the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “No good deeds are better than what is done in these first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah.” Some companions of the Prophet said, “Not even jihad in the way of Allah?” The Prophet said, “Not even jihad in the way of Allah, except for a man who goes out with his life and wealth at risk and he returns with nothing.” (I.e. martyrdom) (Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 969), we realise that the setting of Saturday’s sun marked the beginning of a different breed of days to the rest. And so hopefully for all of us begins the best 10 days of our lives up until now.
As it is commonly said: “With great power, comes great responsibility.” It is clear from the many narrations and from Allah SWT Himself who swore an oath by them when He said in Surah Al-Fajr “By the Dawn. And the ten nights.” (nights referring to the first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah as is the opinion of Ibn Abbas (RA) who narrated the above hadith) that these first 10 days are no doubt full of power, be it transformative for one’s own character or power in that your deeds are magnified immensely. And therefore, with it comes a great responsibility that befalls us all, which is to maximise these 10 days in devotion to Allah SWT and this requires planning!
And so I wish to share below some insights for your preparation as shared with me recently; this starts by viewing these 10 days with the correct lens.
Setting the scene
It should be enough to narrate the Hadith above to show how powerful these 10 days are, that no deeds are greater than those done in these 10 days except for martyrdom with the complete loss of the martyr’s wealth. But there is also the added fact that these 10 days also contain Arafat and Eid-Al-Adha, two great days and assets to self-transformation and getting closer to Allah.
Now that we have set the scene it is also important to heed a beautiful warning that can save many of us from having a terrible ending. The warning is, don’t burn yourself out early. Of the first 10 days the final two are the greatest and thus it is important that we are fully energized and motivated to focus all our emotional, mental and spiritual energy towards these two days.
It should go without saying that one must reset themselves in preparation for these 10 days. What is meant by this reset can be understood by the ways of resetting below:
- Taubah – One should always be seeking sincere repentance when possible as this is essentially the reset button between you and Allah with regard to any mistakes and sins that you have committed. Thus it should be even more binding on us to do Taubah before or at the beginning of these 10 days. But it is also very important that after seeking the forgiveness from Allah SWT that we seek forgiveness from our family and friends and not begin these 10 days without forgiveness of both The Creator and the creation
- A pure heart – from the above it is also essential that we leave behind any feelings of negativity towards anyone, so at the least it doesn’t distract us from our worship.
- Intention & Plan – We should of course have already or be in the process of making a plan for these greatest days of our lives
- Du’a – Make sincere Du’a that Allah allows you to make use of these 10 days to their fullest
- Environmental reset – Remove any distractions such as deleting certain entertainment apps from your phone or turning off notifications for messaging apps for these next few days
Maximising the potential
So now begs the question what should we actually do during these 10 days? If deeds in these 10 days are unparalleled and only surpassed by Martyrdom with complete loss of wealth, then what deeds should we be doing for the most reward. Below are perhaps the bread and butter deeds that one should be doing over the next 10 days.
- Fardh – Fardh actions in general are more beloved to Allah than any other, and so we should prioritize giving our maximum effort to do these deeds with sincerity. And as was said to me, these deeds especially Salah unlock doors of Rizq (provisions) that cannot be unlocked any other way
- Dhikr – Small yet consistent are deeds that Allah love as the Hadith states. Remember Allah SWT frequently and say the recommend Takbeer Al-Tashreeq. This should be said as much as possible not only after Salah but whenever during these first 10 days. Force the Takbeer Tashreeq into habit if you can
- Fasting – Ramadan went by and we of course fasted, but know that fasts in these days hold greater weight than those of Ramadan. And so fast all 9 days with even more zeal than Ramadan and not just the day of Arafat. It is also narrated that “Whoever fasts a day in the way of Allah, Allah will move his face away from the Hellfire by a distance of seventy years.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari). It would be a great shame if we missed out these fasts especially Monday and Thursday and of course Arafat
- Charity – If possible automate your giving to make things easier and this means that even if you forget you are still giving charity
- Qur’an – The reason we do all the above, our Deen, the commands of Allah, the purpose of your life has been made known through the Qur’an. Read it, memorize, revise, contemplate and implement it in these 10 days
- Ramadan – This was an advice that caught me off guard when told to me. We of course would have lost momentum during Ramadan with some of our deeds, so now is not just a good time as any but the best time to pick up the slack and InshAllah we can carry on even after these 10 days have gone
Below are some of the obstacles that can and will prevent you from maximising your time within these 10 days. And for a change of mental scenery I have bulleted them instead of numbered them
- Relying on yourself: Rely only on Allah to help you get through these 10 days with maximum effort
- No plan: Your hopes for these 10 days can be rendered futile if you have not planned these 10 days – we all had some sort of Ramadan plan, so maybe take a look at that to help
- All/nothing mind-set: If you have failed the first few days, do not worry or despair, don’t have this all/nothing principle in your head, even if you made use of the last days then that’s greater than nothing of course
- Sins and lack of Shukr
- Burning out: As we have explored before
Final pieces of advice
In no particular order some final pieces of advice;
- Just try your best (do what you can)
- Prioritise yourself over helping others
- Remove distractions e.g. your amazon prime video app 😉
- Remember Allah frequently
- Reduce pleasure eating
- Delay or reduce non-worship related things (of course tasks such as preparing for exams go ahead but don’t give your brain its rights without giving its sibling the heart its rights)
- Tune up reminders (listen to reminders or read passages that boost your Imaan)
- Try to offer Udhiyyah (animal sacrifice) and avoid cutting hair and nails till after the Eid Salah
- Pray Salah in the Masjid in Jamah if you can for all prayers
- If you are the head of a household or even multiple household whom you share meals together with and bills with, then it is your responsibility to offer the Udhiyyah on everyone’s behalf
- If you can slaughter, then preferably a camel, then a cow, then a goat/sheep or at the very least 1/7 of a camel/cow (even if you are not obliged to)
If you failed making use of Laylatul Qadr, then see this is the re-sit. This is not to say that these 10 days are equal to Laylatul Qadr, but you do have another great opportunity to have your sins forgiven.
To end this article is the story of Habib Al Aabid. I will only share the summarized version, so please do read up the longer version as shared with me. Habib Al-Aabid was a man who managed to change his ways upon hearing the comments of small children who spoke about his sins and within a short time frame his story ends with children speaking out of great respect for him in public every time he passed by. You can change, but as with any transformation or opportunity it requires you to put in the effort. So what are you waiting for?